By Patrick Chiriba
In recent years, the concept of a “blue economy” has gained traction globally, and Kenya is no exception.
The concept is based on the idea that oceans, seas, and waterways can be a source of economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development while also promoting conservation and the protection of marine ecosystem.
As a country with a long coastline (536 km) and abundant marine resources, Kenya is increasingly looking towards harnessing the power of its ocean and waterways to promote economic growth and sustainable development.
Kenya has embraced this idea and is working to develop a blue economy strategy to help the country achieve its development goals.
The country is well positioned to capitalize on this idea which seeks to balance economic growth and job creation with the conservation and protection of the marine ecosystem.
One of the key areas of focus for Kenya’s blue economy strategy is fisheries. The country has a rich fishing tradition, and its waters are home to a wide variety of fish and other marine life.
However, illegal fishing, overfishing, and unsustainable practices have taken a toll on the country’s fisheries, leading to declining catches and environmental degradation.
To address these challenges, the government is promoting sustainable fishing practices, improving fisheries management, and increasing the value of fish and other marine products. This includes investing in infrastructure such as fishing ports and processing plants, promoting aquaculture, and supporting small-scale fisheries and fishing communities.
In addition to fisheries, the country is also looking to develop other sectors of the blue economy, such as marine tourism and renewable energy.
The country’s coastline and islands offer ample opportunities for ecotourism and adventure tourism, while its strong winds and abundant sunshine make it a promising location for wind and solar energy.
To support blue economy, the country sends delegates to participate in various conferences and forums where experts and stakeholders share ideas and strategies on how to fully capitalize on the sector.
The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) conducts research in “marine and freshwater fisheries, aquaculture, environmental and ecological studies, and marine research including chemical and physical oceanography” to provide scientific data and information for the sustainable development of the blue economy.
The development of the blue economy in Kenya can generate significant economic benefits for the country while promoting sustainable development and conservation of marine ecosystem. It represents a new wave of sustainability, with the potential to drive economic growth and job creation and also preserve the country’s natural resources for future generations.
However, achieving these goals will require sustained effort, investment, and collaboration from the government, industry players, civil society and the public.